Accidentally started this discussion on another thread and hijacked in the process. It deserves its own.
Some here seem to think that ever slavish following recipes is learning to cook. I disagree. Cooking is a skill that trends into an art. It is a matter of learning techniques, then using those techniques to advantage under any circumstances
Paint by numbers does not teach art, and following recipes is cooking by numbers. One does need to learn about cuisines, and recipes have a role in teaching cuisine, but then one must move on. Some may say that there are alternative ways of learning, and this is true to a point. I don't want an airline pilot or surgeon who can't improvise based on developed skills, nor one stuck looking at a book while trying to land or operate.